Newsmakers: Chavril gets hitched and BlackBerry sales get a sour reception

The week in review


Mark Blinch/Reuters

Standing by their senator

Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis’s marathon filibuster to successfully block a controversial abortion bill has been hailed as a victory for women’s rights. But it has also been good for business. Supporters who tuned in to watch as Davis stood to speak for 13 hours straight were quick to notice her pink Mizuno Wave Rider 16 runners. More than 230 reviews of the shoe have since poured into Amazon with comments either hailing the sneakers as “excellent for the foot and the womb” or noting that the rubber soles “will undoubtedly melt in the fires of hell.” Mizuno has cautiously seized on all the attention, saying, “We do appreciate Ms. Davis’s choice in athletic footwear,” while adding it doesn’t “maintain a corporate policy on the topic in question.”

Why always so complicated?

Canada’s rock-star celebrity couple, Avril Lavigne and Chad Kroeger, got married on Canada Day, but not in their home country. Early reports said the duo wed on June 29, but that was apparently all part of the opening act for a three-day throwdown in the south of France with approximately 50 friends. The party culminated on Monday night with the vows, dancing and—in true Canada Day fashion—fireworks. When the Nickelback lead singer proposed to Lavigne in August 2012, the 14-carat diamond engagement ring made the front pages across the country. The two met while co-writing a song for Lavigne’s next album. When the song gets released, fans will be able to judge for themselves whether these two can make beautiful music together.

Tipping the scales

No food service employee is immune to the end-of-shift scramble for nickels and dimes left in the tip jar. But a group of Starbucks baristas in New York are arguing that shift supervisors shouldn’t be putting their hands in the cookie jar, so to speak. Two lawsuits were filed; one by the baristas and one by the assistant managers. Both wanted to ensure a cut of the goods. “This is not a fight between baristas and shift supervisors,” said Shannon Liss-Riordan, attorney for the baristas. “It’s a fight between baristas and Starbucks . . . Why employers want to spread tip pools around is to lower their labour costs.”

The Court of Appeals ruled that as part-time, hourly employees, shift supervisors should be given a cut of the tips. Assistant managers were effectively denied from getting a share, seeing as they get a full-time salary with benefits.

Canada’s No. 1

In a Canadian first, 20-year-old Anthony Bennett from Brampton, Ont., was selected No. 1 overall in the 2013 NBA draft. Scooped up by the Cleveland Cavaliers, Bennett had played for Canada’s junior national team and was the Mountain West Conference player of the year. He has spent the last year playing forward for University of Nevada-Las Vegas. The six-foot-seven swingman has been sidelined due to rotator-cuff surgery, a factor that had everyone assuming he would slip down to the 10th pick. No one was as shocked as he was. “I’m just as surprised as everybody else,” he told reporters after he walked across Barclays Center’s stage. “It is just a great honour and I am speechless.”

Deep-fried discrimination

Those piling on advice to Southern American cooking tycoon Paula Deen for her allegedly racist comments include former United States president Jimmy Carter. A long-time acquaintance of the Georgia celebrity chef, he suggested, in the aftermath of the controversy and her teary appearance on the Today show, that Deen “let the dust settle and make apologies.” He told CNN: “My heart goes out to her, but there’s no condoning the use of a word that abuses other people.” Walgreens, Sears and the Food Network are among the latest companies to part ways with the cook. Deen’s original troubles began when a past employee filed a racial discrimination suit against her, alleging that she used the “N-word.” The chef admitted to using the word several times in the past. But perhaps most devastating, she was reported to have expressed a desire for an antebellum South-themed wedding, at which all wait staff would be African-American men in white tuxedos.

Turning sour on BlackBerry

Countless analysts have signalled the death knell on BlackBerry, only to see it live to fight another day. But disappointing sales of the company’s flagship Z10 smartphone may be the beginning of the end for the Canadian tech firm. BlackBerry shares fell nearly 30 per cent in single day after the company released its quarterly results showing it had shipped just 2.7 million of the new touchscreen phones, far fewer than expected. The company also announced it would stop supporting its Playbook tablet. Analysts now predict BlackBerry may have to get out of the hardware market altogether and survive as a software company. Sad news for a company that transformed global communication.

Can we get a witness?

Rachel Jeantel may have been less than a year old when Kato Kaelin became a household name during the O.J. Simpson trial, but the 19-year-old Florida high school senior is learning what it means to be a star witness in a racially charged trial in America. Jeantel was the last person to speak to Trayvon Martin, minutes before the black teenager was killed by Neighbourhood Watch volunteer George Zimmerman, and her two-day testimony has become a flashpoint in the trial. Zimmerman’s supporters are hailing Jeantel’s mumbling and conflicting testimony, along with her admission that Martin had referred to Zimmerman as a “creepy-ass cracker,” as a fatal blow to the prosecution’s case. Martin’s supporters have been equally vehement that Jeantel was simply a young woman doing her best to withstand a demeaning cross-examination on national television. Either way, her testimony has reopened a fierce debate on race and class in America.

Pain, but no gain

NHL players who make it to the Stanley Cup finals are known to suffer silently from a number of injuries, but it’s hard to believe any one player, Blackhawk or Bruin, had it as rough as Patrice Bergeron this year. Unbeknownst to the media, the Boston centre played most of the series with a host of debilitating injuries, some of which include a broken rib, torn cartilage, a separated shoulder and a hole in his lung. Still, at least for a hockey star, nothing is as painful as a loss in the finals. “It hurts to see them hoisting the cup,” Bergeron said the night the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup.

England’s new money-maker

Mark Carney may be the highest-paid central banker in the world with a salary of $1.4 million, the first-ever non-Briton to run the Bank of England in its 319-year history and the “Don Draper of banking” (as one pundit described him), but the 48-year-old Canadian isn’t all about the money. In his first day on the job, Carney made his morning commute to work by taking the London subway. The former governor of the Bank of Canada may impress locals with his choice of transportation, but if he can’t turn around a struggling British economy that grew only 0.3 per cent in the first quarter of this year, compared to the previous quarter, all the hype and expectation surrounding him may go down the Tube.

Happy birthday, Mr. (repressive) president

Several pop stars have come under fire in recent years for performing at private concerts for oppressive leaders, but Jennifer Lopez might take the cake. Lopez travelled to Turkmenistan, which Human Rights Watch calls “one of the world’s most repressive countries,” and sang Happy Birthday to President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov. J.Lo’s publicist quickly went into damage control mode, saying the pop star never would have performed had she known about the human rights issues. Both Beyoncé and Mariah Carey donated their performance fees to charity after being criticized for singing at private concerts for the family of former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. No word yet on whether Lopez will donate her monetary party favour.

How not to chirp

Alec Baldwin’s threats toward Daily Mail journalist George Stark via Twitter led to a PR nightmare for the former 30 Rock star. When Stark reported that Baldwin’s pregnant wife, Hilaria, was tweeting “upbeat posts” while attending the Manhattan funeral of late Sopranos star James Gandolfini, Baldwin became livid. In a series of tweets, Baldwin wrote: “Someone wrote that my wife was tweeting at a funeral. Hey. That’s not true. But I’m gonna tweet at your funeral.” He followed that with: “I’m gonna find you, George Stark, you toxic little queen, and I’m gonna f–k . . . you . . . up.” Baldwin apologized for his homophobic comments via a statement to GLAAD (formerly the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) and promptly deleted his Twitter account. He didn’t keep his Twitter followers in the dark for long, however. His account was reactivated days later.

Strong enough for a man, lost to a woman

A week ago, five-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams joked about playing against men’s star Andy Murray. “I doubt I’d win a point, but that would be fun,” she said. Days later, the women’s No.1-ranked player lost to Germany’s Sabine Lisicki. How? As one of Williams’s coaches said, “She’s human.”

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.